The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Transitional Shelter Assistance program (TSA) has provided short-term living accommodations for families displaced by Hurricane Maria. However, an upcoming April 20, 2018, eligibility review has created uncertainty for many families still on the program. Previous reviews have resulted in several families losing their eligibility status leaving them struggling to find alternative living accommodations.
The TSA program provides displaced residents of Puerto Rico access to temporary housing through direct payments to participating hotels or motels. In order to be eligible, disaster survivors must be unable to return to their homes due to severe damage or unsafe conditions. The program was activated by FEMA on October 30, 2017, with an initial period of assistance of 5-14 days from that date, with possible 30-day adjustments. FEMA, in conjunction with Puerto Rico, can extend the assistance period, which they have done twice. On December 29, 2018, a memo from FEMA granted a 66-day extension that funded the program through March 20. The program was further extended to May 14, 2018, for families already benefiting from this aid program who meet additional eligibility requirements.